What Motivates Staff to Work at a Therapeutic School for Children Identified as Having Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties?

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Wilding, A. 2016. What Motivates Staff to Work at a Therapeutic School for Children Identified as Having Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties? Educational Psychology Research and Practice. 2 (1), p. 33–48. https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.885v6
AuthorsWilding, A.
Abstract

Those who work at schools with children identified as having social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD), work in considerably challenging, stressful and undesirable environments (Shuttleworth, 2005). Taking this into consideration, this study focuses on staff motivation, in an attempt to pinpoint what motivates individuals to pursue and commit to a career in this field of work.

Staff members working with children identified as having SEBD at a therapeutic primary school in the UK were interviewed (N = 7). Semi-structured interviews were prepared and carried out inside the school premises in a private space. Interviews were recorded using an audio recorder and were analysed using thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2000) was applied to the data and referred to as a framework.

Five key themes were developed from the data, three of the key themes were deemed to be most relevant to the research question: ‘What motivates staff to work at a therapeutic school for children identified as having emotional and behavioural difficulties?’ These were:

Emotional connection: Occasions when participants spoke of feeling deeply connected to others. This connection was either with children through relatedness, or with colleagues (team spirit).

A sense of feeling good: This was summarised as pride, enjoyment, appreciation, a sense of feeling right/suited, feeling valued, and even ‘the challenge’ and ‘hard work’.

Responsibility: Participants felt driven by a sense of responsibility, for example comparisons were made to being like parent-figures to the children.

These three themes were considered to be the key forms of motivation identified from this particular sample of staff members.

JournalEducational Psychology Research and Practice
Journal citation2 (1), p. 33–48
ISSN2059-8963
Year2016
PublisherSchool of Psychology, University of East London
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Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.885v6
Publication dates
OnlineMar 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited11 Sep 2020
Copyright holder© 2016 The Author
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